Startup Weekend AI Montreal

    Friday, September 22 - 24, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend AI Montreal

Friday, September 22 - 24, 2017

Friday, September 22 - 24, 2017
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Thomson House (McGill University)
3650 McTavish
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1Y2

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Bringing Artificial Intelligence in Business!

Introducing the first Montreal Startup Weekend Artificial Intelligence edition to the Montreal ecosystem! Montreal Startup Weekend AI (SWAI) will take place between September 22-24 at the McGill University. In the spirit of AI, this is the first SW that will be part of a bigger Global initiative in which the winning team will compete with over 15 other cities for a chance to win a flight to Paris to meet with other SW members, and attend a tech conference ! 

Tickets & Registration:

Facebook event:

Global SWAI 

For any questions or sponsorship opportunities, email

******La Version Française çi-dessous*****


Startup Weekend is a 54-hour competition designed to provide an amazing experiential learning opportunity for AI enthusiasts, developers, designers, and business-minded individuals to come together to create a business. The weekend event is centered on ACTION, INNOVATION, and EDUCATION.

Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through testing, business model development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekend will culminate on Sunday night with demo presentations to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and AI experts. 

Who you'll meet at Startup Weekend

We’re drawing in a diverse crowd of attendees this weekend, with backgrounds in: 
  • AI Enthusiasts (Masters, Ph.D students)
  • Technical (developers, designers) and
  • Business (marketers, entrepreneurs)
What you'll get out of the event
  • Education: learning by doing and hands-on experience.
  • Co-Founder Dating: create relationships that last long past the weekend.
  • Have Fun: meant to be fun and entertaining so enjoy it.
  • Solve local problems with your ideas.
  • Build Your Network: meet high quality and driven entrepreneurs - like you! 
  • Learn new skills.
  • Learn How to Launch a Business (and Actually Do It!): the epitome of Lean Startup Methodology. 
  • Mentorship: interact with the movers and shakers in your community.
  • Get Access to Valuable Startup Resources.
You’ll be immersed in the ideal environment for startup magic to happen. Surrounded by smart, passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at your disposal, you’ll take giant leaps toward creating a business, becoming a founder, and connecting with the right people and resources. In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. 

Why Artificial Intelligence? 

With major investment from both the government and the tech companies, Montreal is in a good position to become a world leader in AI as it is home to the biggest group of deep learning researchers in the world. It’s time to dive into AI now, but not many people know how to use it, let alone implement it in their products. We’re bringing together great mentors to help you step it up. The chance to learn and to build the next AI-enterprise is an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the next emerging technology! 

Montreal is taking part of the Global Startup Weekend AI (GSWAI) that connects entrepreneurs, organizing teams, and startup communities around the world. Countries like France, UK, Ireland, Hong-Kong, India, Mexico and Peru have already joined GSWAI and we are proud that Montreal is now a participating city!

What are you waiting for? Take part in this vibrant community!



To reach out to organizers, send an email to

-----------VERSION EN FRANÇAIS-----------

Nous sommes ravis d'annoncer la 1ère édition du Startup Weekend Montréal en Intelligence Artificielle du 22 au 24 Septembre à l’Université de McGill! Dans l'esprit de l’intelligence artificielle, ce Startup Weekend fait parti de l'initiative Global SWAI où l’équipe gagnante aura la chance de gagner un vol à Paris pour rencontrer d’autres membres de SW en participant à notre évènement!

À Propos

Startup Weekend est une compétition durant 54 heures qui vise à fournir une occasion d'apprentissage expérientiel autant pour les entrepreneurs techniques qu’aux entrepreneurs non-techniques. L'événement est axé sur l'ACTION, l'INNOVATION et l'ÉDUCATION.

Commençant par des pitchs Vendredi en soirée, et continuant avec du testing, du développement de modèle d'affaires, et de la création d'un prototype de base, Startup Weekend se terminera Dimanche soir avec des présentations de démonstration à un panel des entrepreneurs locaux, et des experts en intelligence artificielle.

Qui est-ce que vous rencontrerez au Startup Weekend?

Pour ce week-end, nous pigeont dans une foule diversifiée de participants:
  • Dans le domaine d'Intelligence Artificielle (étudiants en maîtrise et doctorat)
  • Travail technique (développeurs, programmeurs, designers)
  • Affaires, (marketing, entrepreneurs)
Qu'est-ce que vous gagnerez de l'événement ?
  • De l’éducation: un apprentissage riche par la pratique et l'expérience pratique.
  • Des rencontres de Co-Fondateurs: créer des relations qui durent même après le week-end.
  • Du plaisir: l’évènement est amusant et divertissant, donc profitez-en!
  • Résolution de problèmes locaux par vos idées.
  • Construction de votre réseau: rencontrez des entrepreneurs pleins de vie et d’inspirations - des gens comme vous!
  • Apprentissage de nouvelles compétences.
  • Le Savoir-Faire pour créer une entreprise (et le faire réellement!):  La quintessence de la Méthodologie du Lean Startup.
  • Le mentorat: interagissez avec des personnes influentes dans votre communauté.
  • Obtention d’accès à de précieuses ressources de démarrage.
Pourquoi l’intelligence artificielle (IA)?

IA est la prochaine technologie émergente, mais pas beaucoup de gens savent comment l'utiliser, et encore moins le mettre en œuvre dans leurs produits. Nous rassemblons d'excellents mentors pour vous aider à comprendre l’utilisation d’IA. Saisissez l’opportunité d'apprendre et de construire la prochaine entreprise d'IA.

Cette édition de Startup Weekend fait parti du Global Startup Weekend AI (GSWAI), qui apporte la connexion nécessaire avec les entrepreneurs, les organisateurs, et les communautés startup autour du monde. Plusieurs pays comme la France, Royaume-Uni, Irlande, Hong-Kong, Inde, Mexique, Pérou sont déjà impliqués au GSWAI et on est très content que Montréal est maintenant une ville participante!


Pour communiquer avec les organisateurs, envoyez-nous un courriel au

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Friday September 22nd

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.

10:00 pm
Discuss the action items for tomorrow. Must leave the premise.

Saturday September 23rd

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Design Thinking
Teams must attend the Design Thinking workshop

11:00 am
Watson AI
Overview of how to implement AI

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
Continue Building + Watson AI
Teams continue to work

3:00 pm
Coaches Meetups

3:00 pm
Google Presentation

6:30 pm

7:00 pm
Continue Work

11:00 pm
Stay overnight (optional)
Staying overnight is optional

Sunday September 24th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Pitching Presentation
Teams must attend the Pitching presentation

12:00 pm
Pitch Feedback
Pitch to Coaches for feedback

12:00 pm

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:30 pm
Quick Dinner

4:30 pm
Doors Open to Public
People who are coming for Demo Night may start flowing in

5:00 pm
Final Presentations - Demo Night!
The final presentations will start ON TIME at 5pm

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:00 pm
Wrap-Up Party
We celebrate our achievements together!

10:00 pm
Go Home!


Alexis Smirnov
Co-Founder @ Dialogue

In his 25-year career in software industry Alexis delivered products and services at startups and Fortune 100 companies. Alexis is passionate about designing products powered by transformational technologies like Cloud Computing and Machine Intelligence, and bringing them to market. 

Prior to co-founding Dialogue, Alexis led the design and development of social analytics system, a semantic search engine, launched a platform for conversational mobile apps, co-founded and successfully sold a pioneering cloud technology startup.

Event Judges

Sergio Escobar
Montreal Managing Director @ Founder Institute

Sergio directs the Founder Institute's Montreal operations. As such, Sergio contributes to mentor startups in Sharing Economy, Artificial Intelligence, NeuroTech, SportsTech, EdTech, Real Estate Tech, Manufacturing Tech, B2B Enterprise, eCommerce, FinTech. Sergio is a tech entrepreneur himself. He is also involved in Startup Chile, Startup Peru, Startup Bootcamp FinTech London, Msb Tunisia, Kuwait National Fund, Techstars Boston, Techstars Chicago, Flat6Labs in Middle East, and World Bank "Tech Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean"

Ross Goroshin
Research Scientist @ Google Brain

Ross is a Research Scientist at Google Brain in Montreal as of July, 2017. Prior to joining Google Brain, he was a Research Scientist at DeepMind in London, UK. Ross received his PhD in computer science from NYU under the supervision of Yann LeCun; his dissertation focused on unsupervised feature learning using video data.

Sophie Forest
Managing Partner / Brightspark Venture

Since joining Brightspark in 2003 as a managing partner, Sophie has led and overseen more than 50 investments in technology companies. Notably, she has played a pivotal role in the investment, growth and exit of Radian6, leading to a 23x multiple on capital invested, and becoming one of the most successful technology exits in Canadian history.Sophie was involved in the creation and growth of, and She is still an active board member Jewlr, a leading online personalized jewelry company.She sits on the Board of Directors of a number of companies, including Hopper, nGUVU and Jewlr. Sophie works closely with the startups she invests in and is known for her nurturing and listening qualities.Sophie is a member of the Science and Technology Council of Canada, which provides external advice to the federal government in the domain of science, technology and innovation.  She is also on the Board of Director of Wavefront, a business accelerator for mobile and IoT technologies based in Vancouver and of Centech, a business incubation program sponsored by École de Technologie Supérieure.

Angelique Manella
Associate Vice-Principal of Innovation and Partnerships @ McGill University

Angelique Mannella is McGill's first Associate Vice-Principal of Innovation and Partnerships. In this role, Ms. Mannella has a mandate to promote and expand McGill's innovation agenda by creating new partnership and entrepreneurship opportunities for McGill researchers.Her team includes technology transfer managers, patent specialists, innovation associates, and entrepreneurial leaders focused on partnerships and program development. Before taking on the role of AVP in June 2016, Ms. Mannella advised corporate clients and venture capital firms on R&D commercialization, investments, and joint ventures. Previously, she was the founder and CEO of Decode Global, a social enterprise that developed mobile games. She has 15 years of experience in technology product design and business development, and has worked for companies such as Cisco Systems and Nokia in North America, Europe and Asia. Ms. Mannella is a professional engineer, and has degrees from McGill University (BEng), the London School of Economics (MSc), and INSEAD (MBA). She is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the Digital Entrepreneurship Program at the World Bank Group in Washington D.C. 

Vincent Theriault
Associate Partner @ IBM

Vincent is Leading the IBMiX team for Quebec. IBM iX is helping organizations crafting and executing their digital strategy. In a context where solution adoption is a major competitive driver, Vincent and his team care about helping clients adopt a human-centric approach in designing, developing and operating digital experiences. Vincent holds an advisory and governance role in the execution of complex initiatives. He has 18 year experience working with sectors such as retail, financial services and manufacturing.  He has a Master Sc. in Marketing from HEC Montréal where he also taught digital marketing.

Coaches and Mentors

Pierre Sabbagh
CEO at Roof.AI

Pierre is the CEO at Roof AI, which enables smart conversations between organizations and their customers, starting with real estate. Prior to launching Roof AI, he founded Instruments IO, a data analytics and reporting platform for small and medium businesses.
In an earlier life, he worked as an IT Consultant for various local and international companies, as well as a software developer designing and building data analytics solutions used by Fortune 500 clients all over the globe.

Sylvain Pronovost, PhD
Director of Engineering @ Nexalogy

Sylvain has been involved in a variety of cognitive science, modelling & simulation, and cognitive systems engineering projects for the military, industry, and academia. He has studied philosophy, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science in Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City. Sylvain has over a decade of experience in research & development involving computational cognitive modeling for projects ranging from human systems integration, the design of decision support systems, and the use of biologically inspired cognitive architectures to model multi-agent systems appearing in high-fidelity synthetic environments. He is currently the Director of Engineering at Nexalogy, a world leader in the domain of strategic network intelligence, focused on social media research technology and consulting services. In his spare time, he enjoys reading about the various ways of using deep/hierarchical learning in artificial neural networks for the purpose of detecting cats in images on the World Wide Web.

Adela Schicker
Co-founder @

Company growth consultant & key note speaker.
I have lived long term in 11 countries and 4 continents. A great number of various learning and working environments gave me a keen eye for leadership and people’s talents. Together with knowledge based on current research and in cooperation with my fantastic team I seek to improve soft skills within company structures and inspire people to make their life better.

Danica Meredith
Regional Sales Manager @ McGraw-Hill

Danica Meredith has over a decade in global IT sales, learning, project management and business development. She is a leader helping navigate transformational change and digital disruption. From working at IBM in New York to starting her own consulting company in Montreal, Danica is an entrepreneur and intrapreneur, bringing her experience and business savvy to her mentees. Currently, Danica and her team use AI in edtech, to enhance students’ math skills and help professors with learning platforms and content.

Marc Boscher
CEO, Unito

Marc is the founder and CEO of Unito, a middleware for SaaS that lets everyone collaborate from the app of their choice. But before finally starting his own business, Marc was a founding team member of three other technology startups in the medical and digital signage spaces, where he led product and technology. He survived through one bubble and two crashes, even though the businesses didn’t. During his studies at McGill University, he co-founded the CS Games, a non-profit competition for undergraduate tech students that’s now entering its 15th year. 

Marc's startup adventures started 20 years ago, and there's no end in sight! He’s even getting used to writing about himself in the third person…

Sebastien Roy
CEO, Lean Systems

Sebastien Roy is the CEO of Lean Systems,  an API-based optimization
platform for transportation planning and crew scheduling. Sebastien
completed a Ph. D. in quantum physics before becoming an operation
research and artifical intelligence expert applied for transportation
companies. Lean Systems was founded during Founder Institute 2015 and
was part of Techstars NYC winter 2017 cohort.

Graham Mann
Co-Founder @ Lean Systems

Graham is currently a cofounder of Lean Systems, which graduated from Techstars NYC this spring, and he was previously an Associate with Techstars Boston.  He studied Mechanical Engineering at McGill before graduating from Founder Institute Montreal, and has since been involved in all aspects of startup life, with a focus on marketing, sales, and strategy.  He currently splits his time between Montreal, New York, and his hometown of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Alexis Tremblay
Management Consultant at Accenture

Alexis is a Management Consultant at Accenture Montréal where he helps large organizations to morph and adapt their business models to embrace cutting-edge technologies for growth. Seeing that start-ups and established corporations have complementary assets and needs (i.e. data, users, capital, etc.), he is also dedicated to bridging the divide between them by brokering targeted relationships and hosting “collision days”. As an AI enthusiast, Alexis is quite involved in the development of the Quebec AI ecosystem and aspires for our ecosystem to reinforce its world leadership. Prior to joining Accenture, Alexis worked as an Investment Business Analyst at Real Ventures where he first develop his interest in disruptive technologies and the start-up ecosystem.

Marco Janeczek
Director Accelerator + Incubator, L-Spark

Marco Janeczek’s currently serves as a director to L-SPARK, 
an Ottawa based SaaS accelerator and is the Managing Partner of Infinite Ventures, 
where he invests, advises and creates early stage startups. 

Marco’s entrepreneurial journey began with the creation of Gables Medical Billing System and 
His early passion for startups has given him the possibilities to be part of great teams and products,
in a variety of roles including CEO, VP Sales,  and Product Development, as well as advisory roles in 
companies such as Yostro, OnTab, Pat Group, TOWNHILL Software, Gbatteries, hatchbrands, Pcsso, Responsa, Zikera, Zooppa, DomainsIncome, Ottawa Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, 
Planet Domains and Decisyon. Marco experience ranges from idea creation, product development,
customer development, M&A and partnerships. When possible, Marco commits time to StartupWeekends and FounderInstitute.

Jean-Francois Poulin
Lead UX designer @ Ubios

Le Design Sprint tel que Google le propose est un processus UX qui s’applique a toutes les entreprises en démarrage. Sans mise en place d’un bon processus de réflexion, les chance de devoir refaire le projet a partir de 0 sont énorme. Donc n’hésitiez pas a faire appel a moi. Je possède plus de 19 ans d’expérience dans le domaine de l’interactivité, de l’architecture d’information et de l’expérience utilisateur. J’ai dirigé de nombreux projets et développé une spécialité dans les projets avec composante matérielle #IOT. Impliqué dans la communauté, je suis vice-président de UXPA Québec, en plus d’avoir cofondé le média hyperlocal, et un événement professionnel en lien avec le UX.

Domenico Micheletti
UX Consultant @ domUX

A User Experience specialist, Domenico’s focus is on making sure that his client's website and apps are easy to use as much as possible. Before creating domUX in 2014, Domenico was Head, Research and User Experience, Information Architect and Digital Project Manager in different advertising agencies after completing his Masters degree in Media Communications and New Technologies. Insisting to be at the forefront of the UX development, Domenico strives on finding the right data and doing the appropriate user research at the right time, while being mindful of the client’s resources and budgets. 

Sherif Abuelwafa
Graduate Researcher and Coordinator @ ÉTS

Sherif Abulwafa has started his career journey with a Master’s degree in Embedded Systems Design from ALaRI, USI, Switzerland. Afterwards, he worked as a research and development engineer in collaboration with a dynamic and highly experienced team of a Swiss emerging award winning start-up. Then, Sherif landed in Germany where he worked as a software engineer, developing industrial image processing algorithms.

Since September 2014, Sherif has been with ÉTS (University of Quebec) as a Ph.D. candidate in machine learning and computer vision. He deeply believes in the vital role that AI has to play in making people's lives easier, and how social entrepreneurship should be at the heart of it!

Vincent Boucher

President and Founding Chairman of Montréal.AI while holding 1st place (worldwide) on the OpenAI Gym.

Vaughn DiMarco
Co-founder @ MTLDATA

CEO of Montreal.AI Consultancy and co-founder of MTLDATA. Turning data into diamonds for startups and enterprise since 2012. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend AI Montreal team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Premier Package




Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Montreal is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Bonnie
  • Mansha
  • Michelle
  • Conrad
  • Mandeep


Diana Cheptene
Senior Digital Strategy Consultant

Diana creates technology-powered experiences at the intersection of strategy, design, and technology. In her consulting work, she focusing on leveraging AI to help clients understand their customers, design compelling experiences and deliver them with agility. She engages executive teams across industries and domains to gain buy-in and re-align organizations with new ways of working.

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